or, Scientist Strike Back.
Just the other day I wrote on the most recent edition of GeoJournal, which had only just published an albeit late September edition, with an in depth forum of articles looking at Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.
In it all 6 scientists that took part in the discussion noted that Al Gore had made some missteps scientifically in his rush to make a movie that would raise people to environmental action. And while not one held the same opinion, each was appreciative of what he has done to raise awareness, if not necessarily for his seeming misinterpretation and ignorance of the facts.
Now, Professor Barry Brook, Director of the Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability at the University of Adelaide, Australia, has challenged his fellow scientists to take a stand on climate change. He calls for his colleagues to work harder at making the public aware of what he calls the “denialist spin.”
In an opinion piece published last Thursday in the May issue of ‘Australasian Science’, Professor Brook has decided that taking a rational look at the science in front of him is a novelty, fit only for kooks and quacks.
“In climate science and policy, those few apparently well-educated people who continue to deny the now vast body of scientific knowledge and analysis on the causes and consequences of global warming are variously called sceptics, denialists, contrarians, delayers or delusionists. Whatever the label you attach to them, they are all cut of the same anti-intellectual cloth,” Professor Brook writes.
“Their business is the dissemination of disinformation, doubt and unscientific nonsense. One of their most regular ploys is to leverage the widespread lack of public appreciation of how science operates.”
It seems to me as if Professor Brook has heard what his detractors have been saying – regarding our penchant for politicizing our anthropogenic global warming views – and attempted to turn it on its head. “Some people will attempt to hijack science for political or ideological reasons and in doing so besmirch science’s public image. They are good at doing this, and they often exert a disproportionate influence on policy. Some will simply argue that the Earth is flat because ‘it looks flat’,” he writes.
Now, I’m all for those of us who do believe humans have contributed to the current climate change getting out there and defending ourselves. But, one has to ask, at what point do you simply begin to sound like those you are attacking?
For the record, if you want to know more about what the scientific objects are to climate change and An Inconvenient Truth in specific, I’ll be writing a series over at Mongabay.org this week that will be looking in depth at just those things. (Specific links to follow upon publication of first piece.)
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